Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hello Summer In Las Vegas

It's that time of year again. We are now officially in the hot season here in Las Vegas. It seemed like we had one or two pleasant weeks of temp's in the 70's before the ever present sun is now upon us.

Last year was a fairly mild summer. We only saw two days hit 110 degrees. For the majority of the peak hot summer days the temps topped out only at 102-104. Usually we don't see 100 degrees until May.  I have lived in the desert going on 10 + years.   Believe it or not 102 is a big difference than 112 degrees.

I honestly believe that the Summer temps are what will make or break a runner out here. This is going to become my treadmill season....

I'm bummed because my days of running outside at lunch time are over.  Even my habitual weekend stroller running will need some improvising over the next few months. Last Saturday I took my son out for our "run" we did 4 miles and we left the house at 8am. He was very warm when we got home, and I felt like a bad mommy. On Sunday we went out again, but we left earlier, and  I put a huge netting over the stroller so it looked like a bee keeper was riding along with me.. I also stopped to drink water and splash water on his little legs and forehead.

Tips for surviving the hot temps:

  • Leave early in the morning (I don't have the option to run outside at night, it's too dangerous)
  • Bring water with you, or stash water along the course you will be running
  • Wear light colored clothing, dark clothing attracts heat
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear a hat or sun visor. (I am a habitual hat wearer) I worry about skin cancer, also another fun trick to try is to dunk your hat in water, then put it in the freezer for a few minutes. Crunchy hat, but it is really nice on a hot day.
  • Energy gels or electrolytes are really essential this time of year.   I also wear a "fanny pack" in the hot months (mine is a Nathan so it's not quite as dorky). I carry a gel, money for water, and my phone just in case).

I honestly believe that these brutal summers have made me a stronger runner. Happy Training!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's next or more like what's not next....

I was hoping to get in another half marathon this summer. The first race I had in mind was the Fontana Day's Half Marathon. This course is crazy fast. It is 6 miles down hill then 7 miles gradual down grade.  I ran this race in 2009 with a friend and we PR'ed big time (1:31:49 for me).  It was also a dirt cheap race, $40 for the half.  No freaking way! Well word spread like a wildfire and the race is now sold out.

Another option was the Ojai to Ocean half marathon on June 3, 2012. It has a super pretty course that starts in the Ojai area and runs down to the beach. I'm from Ventura County and this race was 25 miles from my parents house and also really affordable. Registration for the half topped out at $65 before it sold out too.

Rock n Roll San Diego... Not really an option for me. The last time I checked it cost $135 for the half and $160 for the full.. I just can't reason paying more than $100 for a half marathon! 

I'm a procrastinator when it comes to registering for these events. The farthest out I have ever registered for a race was 6 months out when I entered the lottery for the St. George marathon. I got in and it was a great race. But, typically I like to register a month before the race so I can make sure that I am ready to run the race and that there are no other outstanding commitments (family, work, etc.)

So, now what? There is a a half marathon this summer in the Las Vegas area called "Running with the Devil" That's not my cup of tea. I'm not going to risk heat exhaustion just to run a half.

I think now I'm just going to focus on 5k's and 10k's. I'm still going to run longer distances on the weekends (Friday-Sunday) But, my racing dollars are too few and far between to commit to something big.... Bummer.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rockin Rabbit Half Marathon Race Recap

1:40:04. I sliced 7 minutes off from my previous half marathon.Today was one of those days where everything went right.
I woke up at 4:45 and was out the door by 5:10am.  I had to drive to the finish line, and then take a shuttle to the start line. I got to the start line around 6:10am and I had time to relax indoors in the casino.  I just tried to relax and make small talk with some of the fellow racers.
I lined up pretty close to the front. I was worried because the start line was pretty narrow. When the gun went off, I expected a bit of pushing and shoving but, it was a calm start.   I had a strategy for this race. Take it easy during the first 4 miles  and 'hold back". These first four miles climb 400 feet, but then the course descends for 4 miles. I hit 4 miles at 32:20 (8:05 pace). This was right were I wanted to be. When we hit the downhills, I wanted to run hard but, still conserve energy. At mile 6 we hit  a stretch of road that was concrete. I was trying not to think of how sore I would be later on. I wasn't sure if there would be energy gel or Gatorade on the course, so before the race I hid a packet of energy coconut water under my hat. I pulled it out and drank it fast, around the same time this guy came flying be me. I tried not to pay attention to anyone around me. I kept telling myself to focus on my own race, later on if I felt good I would try to "pick off" runners. At mile 7 there was another hilly climb, but my legs felt fresh and I was able to catch two runners on this stretch (including the guy that flew by me). The course then continued downhill. I hit the 10 mile mark at around 1:16:10.(7:36 per mile). I realized that if I could run a sub 24:00 for the last 5k I could break 1:40. 

The last 5k of the course was a trail 5k. It ran through train tunnels. At one point I couldn't see because the tunnels were so dark. The half marathoners also had to share the course with the 5k runners. Over the next 3 miles I was able to catch 3 more half marathon runners and several 5k runners.  I wish I would have started my finishing kick sooner. I saw the clock flashing 1:39 and I was hoping to come in under 1:40.  I finished 1:40:04. I think I did break 24:00 for the last 5k but, my math was a little fuzzy and it wasn't enough to go under 1:40.
I am on cloud nine right now.  This race far exceeded any expectations I had.  I finished 4th woman overall and 2nd in my age group. I didn't stick around for the awards. I had to hurry home, I am hoping to post photos from the race later on this week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

11 miles in the wind. I loved every minute of it.

The half is less than a week away. Last Friday I was starting to have thoughts of  "have I done enough".  I went running at lunch time in my new Mizunos. It was 78 degrees I felt sluggish.  I only ran three miles and my new shoes just felt stiff.  Well that night I wanted to give it another go so I ran 6 more miles on the treadmill. On Saturday I took a rest day, it was more of a trade off with my husband. He promised me he would watch our son on Sunday morning. If I knocked out my chores (sweeping and mopping) and shopping on Saturday (Target). It was a deal.

On Sunday morning. I looked out the window and the trees were being whipped around in the wind.  I got up did the typical morning breakfast routine with my son. I let my husband sleep in for an extra hour. Finally it was time to head out. I didn't want to put  much pressure on this last long run.  I took off and the winds were cold. The first 3 miles were easy flat some of it was running into the wind and some of it was at my back. Well after that 3 the climb began. I climbed about 300 feet in the next 3 miles. I had the wind at my back for some of the uphill climb but the majority of it was run directly into the wind. I thought I was going to hurt really bad during this part. But, I was really enjoying it. I was climbing up an upgrade and I got passed by a couple on bicycles (they weren't hardcore cyclists). But when we rounded the corner and were going directly into the wind I enjoyed passing them right back. I kept thinking that running into the wind was like an investment. I knew that on the way back I would be flying downhill with the wind behind me. 
I really felt great.  Even with the head winds  I finished 10.95 miles (I'm rounding up here) in 89 minutes. I used map my run with my phone. It tracked the time but the GPS cut out and I lost some of the split times....  So this run averaged out to about 8:06 per mile.  I know I was taking it easy during the first half into the wind.  The second half I felt like I was flying.  I am hoping to repeat this strategy this Saturday. First half easy, second half  haul ass.